Don Howard was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer effective October 2014. He served as Interim President and Chief Executive Officer from February through September 2014. Prior to that appointment, as Executive Vice President, Don Howard directed the Foundation’s program and grantmaking activities. He helps lead the Foundation’s ongoing efforts to deepen, extend and amplify the impact of our work.
Prior to joining the Foundation in 2012, Don was a partner at the Bridgespan Group for over a decade where he was a strategic advisor to nonprofit and foundation leaders and led Bridgespan’s San Francisco office. As part of this work, he managed Irvine’s strategic planning process in 2002-2003 that led to the Foundation’s current focus in Arts, California Democracy and Youth. Earlier in his career, Don helped corporate leaders formulate strategy and improve the effectiveness of their organizations as a Principal at Booz Allen Hamilton and later as a Managing Director at the Scient Corporation.
Don grew up in Long Beach, in southern California, before coming to the Bay Area to earn his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering at Stanford University. He later returned to Stanford to obtain his Master’s in Business Administration from the Graduate School of Business. More recently, he co-developed and taught a class on social entrepreneurship at the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley.
As a volunteer, Don has been an activist around HIV and other health-related issues, serving in the past on advisory boards at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, UCSF, and the National Institutes of Health. He has acted as an advisor to the boards of several San Francisco community-based organizations. He is currently serving on the board of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, where he is actively involved in the development of a new community-based approach to improving gay men's health and ending HIV transmission. Don also has worked extensively outside the U.S., including a volunteer posting with a U.S. AID-sponsored initiative to provide business advice to private enterprises in Central Europe.